Yesterday was a great day for thinking about the future and realizing the possibilities of applying educational technology beyond school. In the morning I attended a great meeting at the San Mateo County Office of education (http://izones.org/#) which consisted of teachers, administrators, stakeholders, and other individuals and organizations that want to see an accelerated integration of technology in school and beyond. Technology that students will inevitably need not only to be comfortable using, but to be competitive and successful problem solvers in the future. A group of students from The Bayside STEM Academy (http://stem.schoolloop.com/) did an incredible job showcasing what engaged and energized students are capable of accomplishing. They wanted to talk, they wanted to share, they were comfortable presenting in front of adults and they were proud of their accomplishments. They had already used design thinking (http://dschool.stanford.edu/) to tackle problems and develop solutions for their projects and they were excited to discuss upcoming projects they'd be working on. The premise of the meeting was not only to showcase the incredible things students are accomplishing, but to help create a network of educators, administrators, and anyone else with a vested interest in students succeeding in a growing technological world. Ideally through this network those involved would give and get ideas and help support efforts accelerate innovation in our schools and beyond.
Back at school I met with my afternoon classes and my head was spinning thinking of more and better ways we could be using technology at our school site. One small step I am taking is creating a TED-Ed club consisting of 5th graders that will meet one day a week after school. http://ed.ted.com/clubs
In the evening we hosted a parent technology information meeting. I work at a Title I school and overall the demographic is low income. There was a promising turnout of about twenty parents and they were very appreciative to find out what technology their children are using at school. They were also receptive to hearing about programs students could be using at home too. It was informative for me to see the lack of internet connectivity some students have at home. We were able to help some parents who didn't have email accounts set up free ones. Over all I thought the meeting went very well and we are going to host two to three more meetings before the end of the year. Having parents involved and invested with what's happening at school will also help bring accelerated innovation beyond the classroom.
Not a bad short week! Now looking forward to enjoying the long President's weekend!